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John Force Hints Retirement After Thrilling New England Win

Feature Image – Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports

In a breathtaking weekend at the NHRA New England Nationals, legendary drag racer John Force proved once again that he’s a force to be reckoned with. The 16-time Funny Car world champion clinched his second win of the season, defeating his teammate Austin Prock in the final round with an impressive 4.081 seconds at 319.29 mph. This victory, his 157th career win, catapulted him to second place in the points standings.

A Symbolic Win and an Emotional Announcement

While Force’s victory was a significant feat, it was his post-race comments that captured everyone’s attention. During his top-end interview after exiting his PEAK Funny Car, Force deviated from his usual sponsor acknowledgments to address something that seemed to weigh heavily on his mind.

“I want to say something that really does matter,” Force began, pulling Prock into the frame. “This kid [Austin Prock], because I’m there, is gonna replace me.” In a touching gesture, he handed Prock the Wally trophy, symbolically passing the torch to his younger teammate.

Sharing Retirement Thoughts with Fans

Mark J Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Later, as Force celebrated his victory with fans on the starting line, he elaborated on his potential retirement plans. “I’m down right now because I don’t like beating my teammate in the final. He is the future. I love that kid. He’s going to be here for a long time and Robert [Hight] will be coming back,” Force stated. He candidly reflected on his age and the inevitability of change, saying, “I’m not being dramatic, but my time is up. It was up when I was 65. Hell, it was up when I turned 50. The world is changing for me and I’ve got to do some real thinking. I’m not quitting today. I’m going to Bristol, but I just know I’m not what I used to be.”

Reactions from the Racing Community

Force’s semi-announcement sent ripples through the racing community and the internet at large. Fans and fellow racers had mixed reactions, with many praising his choice of Prock as his successor and celebrating his legacy, while others expressed surprise or concern about filling Force’s “large shoes.” Some even urged him to retire over safety concerns, pointing to his age.

Andrew Weber USA TODAY Sports

Future Plans and Speculations

Force also hinted at ongoing developments within his team. He revealed that there is a dragster in the shop in Brownsburg, IN, and that he is currently interviewing drivers to fill that seat. Speculation has been rife about who might join his daughter Brittany in the Top Fuel ranks, but no official announcements have been made.

As for Robert Hight’s return, it remains uncertain. Many speculate that he will return next year, possibly setting the stage for Force’s “retirement tour,” which might culminate at the end of the 2025 season. However, Force himself admitted that winning makes him want to stay in the game longer, saying, “All of a sudden you win, and your weight and your personality just change.”

The Internal Battle of a Racing Legend

Force’s internal struggle between his passion for racing and the reality of aging is evident. His candid comments reveal a man who loves the sport deeply but is also aware of the physical and mental toll it takes. “It’s obviously an internal, now-made external battle that the Funny Car legend is fighting,” observed one commentator.

Legacy and the Future of John Force Racing

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, one thing is clear: John Force’s legacy in the world of drag racing is secure. Whether he retires tomorrow or in a few years, his contributions to the sport and the impact he has made on fans and fellow racers alike will endure.

The racing world waits with bated breath to see what John Force decides next. Will he embark on a final, celebratory retirement tour, or will the thrill of victory keep him behind the wheel a little longer? Only time will tell. One certainty remains: John Force Racing will continue to thrive, driven by the spirit and determination of its founder.